Sunday, March 20, 2011

A History of Composting at our School

Our school has had an off and on relationship with composting. Sometimes we've had to stop because of fruitflies, sometimes because students were confused about which bin was the compost bin, sometimes because of lack of food scraps. I don't actually know if there was composting the year before my class started middle school (maybe I'll interview a teacher or a former student...).

Anyway, when we started middle school there wasn't composting. Actually there might have been and I just don't remember, but I'm pretty sure there wasn't. Then, about midway through the year a parent helped start a worm bin. We started off pretty well, but then it sort of dwindeled, I think because most girls didn't want to touch the worms. At the end of that year, a small group of girls started Girls Go Green. However, we focused on paper, not really on compost.

The next year, the green team was started by the same parent who had started the worm bin. We partnered with Washington Green Schools, and had monthly meetings. We did a variety of things, but as this post is about composting, I will focus on that. At first we had a big compost bin in the kitchen, but unfortunately girls were confused about which bin was the compost bin and which was the garbage. Plastic was mixed in with the food scraps, too much to sort out. We also had fruit flies.

Learning from our mistakes, we put out a smaller compost bin, with a lid that not only would keep out the fruit flies, but also cause students to think more before they/we put things into the compost bin, thus keeping out plastic. We had this untill the end of the school year, but there was one flaw: due to the small size of our school, we eat in the classrooms, so students would just put their lunch waste into the trash cans in the classrooms. We tried covering the trash cans with cardboard one lunch to make students think before putting foodwaste into the trash cans, but it didn't really help.

The next year, this year, the school got small compost bins for each classroom. The only problem was that they were messy and smelled bad, so nobody was really emptying them, creating a lovely living envifonment for fruitflies. So it was decided that we would put them away for the rest of the fall and wait untill the fruitfly season was over.

And then, one fateful day, our wonderful math teacher decided to start them up again. She went out and got biodegradable garbage can liners for the compost bins to reduce disgustingness and held the first green team meeting in months. We decided to empty them as many times a week as possible and created a scedual of who would be in charge of emptying them each day.

And so that is where we stand now, and our current system is working very well right now.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to put that into words and I hope you enjoyed it.

By the way, I made some bags and a wallet out of a leather jacket I got at a clothing exchange. Does anyone want to see pictures?

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